The Many Publics of Science: Using Altmetrics to Identify Common Communication Channels by Scientific field

Authors : Daniel Torres-Salinas, Domingo Docampo, Wenceslao Arroyo-Machado, Nicolas Robinson-Garcia

Altmetrics have led to new quantitative studies of science through social media interactions. However, there are no models of science communication that respond to the multiplicity of non-academic channels.

Using the 3653 authors with the highest volume of altmetrics mentions from the main channels (Twitter, News, Facebook, Wikipedia, Blog, Policy documents, and Peer reviews) to their publications (2016-2020), it has been analyzed where the audiences of each discipline are located.

The results evidence the generalities and specificities of these new communication models and the differences between areas. These findings are useful for the development of science communication policies and strategies.


Identifying and characterizing social media communities: a socio-semantic network approach to altmetrics

Authors : Wenceslao Arroyo-Machado, Daniel Torres-Salinas, Nicolas Robinson-Garcia

Altmetric indicators allow exploring and profiling individuals who discuss and share scientific literature in social media. But it is still a challenge to identify and characterize communities based on the research topics in which they are interested as social and geographic proximity also influence interactions.

This paper proposes a new method which profiles social media users based on their interest on research topics using altmetric data. Social media users are clustered based on the topics related to the research publications they share in social media.

This allows removing linkages which respond to social or personal proximity and identifying disconnected users who may have similar research interests. We test this method for users tweeting publications from the fields of Information Science & Library Science, and Microbiology.

We conclude by discussing the potential application of this method and how it can assist information professionals, policy managers and academics to understand and identify the main actors discussing research literature in social media.

URL : Identifying and characterizing social media communities: a socio-semantic network approach to altmetrics


Open Access uptake by universities worldwide

Authors : Nicolas Robinson-Garcia​, Rodrigo Costas, Thed N. van Leeuwen

The implementation of policies promoting the adoption of an open science (OS) culture must be accompanied by indicators that allow monitoring the uptake of such policies and their potential effects on research publishing and sharing practices.

This study presents indicators of open access (OA) at the institutional level for universities worldwide. By combining data from Web of Science, Unpaywall and the Leiden Ranking disambiguation of institutions, we track OA coverage of universities’ output for 963 institutions.

This paper presents the methodological challenges, conceptual discrepancies and limitations and discusses further steps needed to move forward the discussion on fostering OA and OS practices and policies.

URL : Open Access uptake by universities worldwide



Open Access and Altmetrics in the pandemic age: Forescast analysis on COVID-19 literature

Authors : Daniel Torres-Salinas, Nicolas Robinson-Garcia, Pedro A. Castillo-Valdivieso

We present an analysis on the uptake of open access on COVID-19 related literature as well as the social media attention they gather when compared with non OA papers.

We use a dataset of publications curated by Dimensions and analyze articles and preprints. Our sample includes 11,686 publications of which 67.5% are openly accessible.

OA publications tend to receive the largest share of social media attention as measured by the Altmetric Attention Score. 37.6% of OA publications are bronze, which means toll journals are providing free access.

MedRxiv contributes to 36.3% of documents in repositories but papers in BiorXiv exhibit on average higher AAS. We predict the growth of COVID-19 literature in the following 30 days estimating ARIMA models for the overall publications set, OA vs. non OA and by location of the document (repository vs. journal).

We estimate that COVID-19 publications will double in the next 20 days, but non OA publications will grow at a higher rate than OA publications. We conclude by discussing the implications of such findings on the dissemination and communication of research findings to mitigate the coronavirus outbreak.


The insoluble problems of books: What does have to offer?

Authors : Daniel Torres-Salinas, Juan Gorraiz, Nicolas Robinson-Garcia

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the capabilities, functionalities and appropriateness of as a data source for the bibliometric analysis of books in comparison to PlumX.

We perform an exploratory analysis on the metrics the Altmetric Explorer for Institutions platform offers for books. We use two distinct datasets of books: the Book Collection included in and the Clarivate’s Master Book List, to analyze’s capabilities to download and merge data with external databases.

Finally, we compare our findings with those obtained in a previous study performed in PlumX. combines and orderly tracks a set of data sources combined by DOI identifiers to retrieve metadata from books, being Google Books its main provider. It also retrieves information from commercial publishers and from some Open Access initiatives, including those led by university libraries such as Harvard Library.

We find issues with linkages between records and mentions or ISBN discrepancies. Furthermore, we find that automatic bots affect greatly Wikipedia mentions to books. Our comparison with PlumX suggests that none of these tools provide a complete picture of the social attention generated by books and are rather complementary than comparable tools.


Disentangling Gold Open Access

Authors : Daniel Torres-Salinas, Nicolas Robinson-Garcia, Henk F. Moed

This chapter focuses on the analysis of current publication trends in gold Open Access (OA). The purpose of the chapter is to develop a full understanding on country patterns, OA journals characteristics and citation differences between gold OA and non-gold OA publications.

For this, we will first review current literature regarding Open Access and its relation with its so-called citation advantage. Starting with a chronological perspective we will describe its development, how different countries are promoting OA publishing, and its effects on the journal publishing industry.

We will deepen the analysis by investigating the research output produced by different units of analysis. First, we will focus on the production of countries with a special emphasis on citation and disciplinary differences. A point of interest will be identification of national idiosyncrasies and the relation between OA publication and research of local interest.

This will lead to our second unit of analysis, OA journals indexed in Web of Science. Here we will deepen on journals characteristics and publisher types to clearly identify factors which may affect citation differences between OA and traditional journals which may not necessarily be derived from the OA factor.

Gold OA publishing is being encouraged in many countries as opposed to Green OA. This chapter aims at fully understanding how it affects researchers’ publication patterns and whether it ensures an alleged citation advantage as opposed to non-gold OA publications.


The unbearable emptiness of tweeting — About journal articles

Authors : Nicolas Robinson-Garcia, Rodrigo Costas, Kimberley Isett, Julia Melkers, Diana Hicks

Enthusiasm for using Twitter as a source of data in the social sciences extends to measuring the impact of research with Twitter data being a key component in the new altmetrics approach. In this paper, we examine tweets containing links to research articles in the field of dentistry to assess the extent to which tweeting about scientific papers signifies engagement with, attention to, or consumption of scientific literature.

The main goal is to better comprehend the role Twitter plays in scholarly communication and the potential value of tweet counts as traces of broader engagement with scientific literature. In particular, the pattern of tweeting to the top ten most tweeted scientific dental articles and of tweeting by accounts is examined.

The ideal that tweeting about scholarly articles represents curating and informing about state-of-the-art appears not to be realized in practice. We see much presumably human tweeting almost entirely mechanical and devoid of original thought, no evidence of conversation, tweets generated by monomania, duplicate tweeting from many accounts under centralized professional management and tweets generated by bots.

Some accounts exemplify the ideal, but they represent less than 10% of tweets. Therefore, any conclusions drawn from twitter data is swamped by the mechanical nature of the bulk of tweeting behavior. In light of these results, we discuss the compatibility of Twitter with the research enterprise as well as some of the financial incentives behind these patterns.

URL : The unbearable emptiness of tweeting — About journal articles